The Collection - The Disease

Dear Marjorie - My husband is 46 years old and spends most of his time playing with toy trains. He doesn't pay any attention to me these days.

Dear M - You have my deepest sympathy! Unfortunately, this condition is well known and is usually terminal. Very few people ever fully recover. However, you can turn this situation to your advantage! Trainaholics are so oblivious to their surroundings that you can bring as many men back to the house as you want - your man will never know!

Whatever you do though, don't get rid of your train fanatic - they are notoriously good at paying the bills! Blessings

When I first read this letter in a women's magazine I was shocked, devastated, mortified........

It took me a while to comprehend the truth in these words, but I am determined to 'clean up' my act.

No more trains!

The disease started .......... continue reading my incredibly boring history


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dinky Abuse and Other Sad Tales

Dinky Toys

Did you play with your Dinky when you were a kid? I played with mine to the point of abuse as the following pictures attest. Indoors or outdoors. Secretly in the bedroom or openly in the garden, I smacked my Dinkies all the way to adulthood. Eventually, I married and had to curtail my Dinky-bashing habits. As is the fate of so many die-cast lovers, wives dowse the childhood enthusiasms like so many buckets of cold water on a horny dog. The urge has subsided somewhat since those seedy times, thus my Dinky collection joins the sale alongside Dublo. The memories, like the toys, are faded from too much sunlight.

Hang on... You're not a Dinky!

You probably already know that both Dinky and Hornby Dublo are from the same Frank Hornby stable!

What? No boxes!

Don’t give me a hard time about it. I probably sucked the colourful cardboard to death, the same as I probably licked the toxic paint and ate the small sharp components, that nowadays, are called ‘Choking Hazards’. When I was young, the main choking hazard was from smoking. However, babies love to extend their environmental mapping through oral sensory awareness. In other words, they put things in their mouths. Occasionally they swallow things. I am given to understand that parents used to search for the missing truck wheels amongst the nappy contents and fix the toys. Parents weren’t so squeamish in the ‘olden days’, eh?.

Dinky History

The history of Dinky is somewhat on a parallel to Dublo
, but starting a year earlier in 1933. I believe some of the toys were made in the same Liverpool factory, where coffee was spilled in the mazac mixer (you’ll have to read the Alternative Dublo History for more of that story). They were also made extensively in France, but featured the more bizarre chunky styling of Citroen and Peugeot, designed for circumnavigating the Arc de Triumph without sustaining serious injury, instead of the twee Ford and Austin Morris, designed for drivers who would need a stiff G & T should anyone even dare to honk a horn at them! What blighters! What cads!

Dinky Toys became Dinky Toys (if that makes sense) in 1934, after a year of sporting that gorgeously stiff English title - ‘Modelled Miniatures’. Actually, Modelled Miniatures were mostly accessories for the railway stuff, but the idea caught on and the range was extended to include motor cars.

A flatulent, Austrian midget named Adolf Hitler detested all things Dinky and Dublo and allegedly, started a war to prevent their continuing production. Uh Oh! I can feel this article slithering into the snake pit of non-Political Correctness. I caution against reading further, if you lean towards a more delicate political constitution!. …….He especially hated Triumph cars, believing they were designed either to encourage children to mimic the immodest sound of his own involuntary flatus or to represent British ‘triumph’ in World War One (I would like to add a personal note here, that nobody ever triumphs or wins in a war. EVER!). Hitler therefore, determined to prevent anyone from practicing noises with model cars, by ensuring raw materials were diverted to other, more practical, uses like bombs and tanks and heroic medals as well as silly helmets. Instead, he caused the post-war launch of model versions of the military vehicles that had so upset his digestion in the first place. That’s karma for you!. I shall draw a line under this topic whilst I’m still ahead.


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1947 saw the launch of real rubber tyres, which were kinder on babies’ teeth andless likely to grate on Granny’s nerves. They also put an end to the epidemic of tiny indented tracks in polished wooden surfaces. Unfortunately, the tyres came off rather easily and lead to a new wave of three-wheeled toy cars.

1963 brings up a familiar name – Tri-ang. They jumped in and bought the tooling for Dinky. A few years later in 1967, the new plastic dinky Speedwheels were launched and this ensured the decline of the toy car industry as well as bringing an end to the choking hazard of miniature rubber tyres.

Lesney (trademarked as ‘Matchbox’) released their own version called ‘Superfast’ and Corgi brought out ‘Hotwheels’ and every little boy (and the occasional girl) had their favourite. Just as with the train set manufacturing, all the car manufacturers eventually bought each other out until nobody knew who made what. It didn’t matter, because the era of sturdy toys had passed. You can stick your modern plastic cars in the orifice from which you get the most satisfaction these days. Plastic, Bubble packs, Blister packs and polythene bags are no match for cardboard and metal and toxic paint.

For a full history of Dinky you’ll have to go elsewhere. I’m bored now.

If you’re interested, I have already mentioned the regular meeting of ex-toy making executives in a potting shed in Purley. Send a resume and a bottle of Glenfiddich if you wish to join the club.

I forgot to include details about the Dinky toys included here! What a turkey!
I'm sure they all have names and if you are a Dinky enthusiast, then you'll already know what they are. Nopoint me wasting my time telling you.

You may also notice that I was not joking when I said they had been abused. Let's call them a FREE gift to whoever buys the train set.

I am overwhelmed by my own generosity sometimes......
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